Sunday, June 2, 2019

Adoring Adelaide

Chances are, if you run in the same nerd circles as I do, the only reason you know about Adelaide is because one Brady Haran, of Hello Internet (HI) podcast and several YouTube channels (Numberphile, Objectivity, &c.), is from there. On HI there are several running jokes, two of which overlap for this story: there exist branded "hotstoppers" (small plastic plugs one can put in to-go coffee containers to prevent hot coffee from escaping) that the HI hosts give out and that one of the places you can always get a hotstopper is in the cafe at the base of an Adelaide skyscraper nicknamed the "Black Stump" (the future home to the HI museum!) despite both hosts now living in England. I've done more for less of a reason (see: "hey, it'd be cool to go around the world, I suppose"), so I got off the tour bus (Great Ocean Road & Grampians) and found myself in Adelaide.

As you may remember, I had some difficulty making friends and meeting people in Melbourne. I was, as I texted a friend, the angriest I have ever been for several days in a row. The tour was a delightful break from that - but was it a fluke? Was I just making friends with other tourists? A very slow check-in at my hostel had me fearing the worst.

I'd seen there was a pub quiz nearby, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Dodging raindrops the whole way there, I stood near a traffic light a few blocks away. A girl carrying a couple pizzas came and waited for the traffic light as well.

"How's your night?" she asked, blowing the brains right out the back of my head. This type of pleasant interaction had been unthinkable only a few days prior. Hell, as friendly as I am, I think I've only ever had a handful of conversations while waiting to cross a road. We chatted and flirted for a couple blocks before she went her way (she had pizzas for a study group) and I went mine (to try to win a pub quiz!). (Note: the team I joined at halftime won a free beer, but came in fifth. One of the team members drove me back to the hostel so I didn't get too wet.)
Over the next two days, I explored as I normally do. Town Hall came first, though I naturally had to have a coffee to start my day, which meant a visit to the Black Stump. What a delightful little cafe - well worth the "pilgrimage" and I even went back the next day because the coffee was so good.

Town Hall was cool (apparently the Beatles stopped by!) and the library was even cooler. After my library visit (& poem), I met up with a couchsurfer and he gave me some good advice and a bit more of a local perspective. We then went and won $30 at a trivia night in a casino, which we promptly gambled away.

Every place I stopped I had a nice conversation with strangers (very much including the bar where, in order to put new beer on every week, the price was halved on Wednesday nights). I was a little sad to leave after only a couple days, but I'd already bought my ticket and made arrangements to get up to Sydney.

To tack on that part of it, I took an overnight bus to Melbourne which I always seem to make the mistake of doing. I returned to Moron Mansion because I knew they'd let me check in early and I could pass out right away. I slept most of the day and most of the night before getting on a daytime bus to Sydney, which was a smarter choice - I read a book on the way (it's on the Book List) and had lunch in Canberra (which I should have actually taken a day or two to visit).
All in all, I really enjoyed Adelaide and would go back in a heartbeat!

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